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World press alliance urges China to free journalists
by Staff Writers
Bangkok (AFP) June 02, 2013

Vietnam detains anti-China protesters
Hanoi (AFP) June 02, 2013 - Vietnam on Sunday detained about 30 anti-China protesters in Hanoi, witnesses said, amid growing tensions between the communist neighbours over rival territorial claims.

Security forces moved in to disperse about 100 demonstrators who gathered in the city centre for an hour-long rally, witnesses said.

The detained were taken by bus to a "rehabilitation" centre on the outskirts of the capital.

Two AFP journalists covering the demo were among those detained but were released after a few hours.

Vietnam and China have long-standing territorial disputes over the Spratly and Paracel Islands, which both countries claim, and often trade diplomatic barbs over oil exploration and fishing rights in the contested waters.

In March Hanoi accused a Chinese vessel of firing on one of its fishing boats.

"This is not China's sea. That's why we're protesting against this harsh aggression," protester Tam Trong Khang, 64, told AFP.

Last month Beijing sent one of its largest recorded fishing fleets to the disputed waters.

More than a dozen anti-China demonstrations have been held in Vietnam since 2011. After initially tolerating the rallies, the Vietnamese authorities have since banned them.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, speaking at a security conference in Singapore, on Friday slammed "groundless" territorial claims in Asian waters and called for self-restraint among nations involved in disputes.

A global alliance of newspapers and news publishers called on China Sunday to release all journalists languishing in its jails and end attacks on freedom of expression.

With at least 32 imprisoned journalists, China is one of the world's worst jailers of media professionals, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) said in a statement at its annual congress in Bangkok.

"WAN-IFRA reiterates its call for the release of 2007 Golden Pen of Freedom laureate Shi Tao, and all other journalists imprisoned or held without charge in connection to their work," according to a resolution at the meeting.

It urged Beijing "to recognise that a free press helps promote a more prosperous, equitable and just society".

The resolution also called on the government "to cease its pursuit and harassment of 'netizens' and bloggers who are increasingly targets of repression, and to welcome a more open and participatory information age".

The group -- which represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries -- also urged Myanmar to guarantee media independence and allow press freedom to flourish.

WAN-IFRA called on Argentina to stop what it termed a government-led campaign of intimidation against independent media.

The four-day 65th World Newspaper Congress, which opened in the Thai capital on Sunday, will address the latest developments and challenges linked to the evolving media landscape, including the growing use of online paywalls.


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